Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that Iran is establishing a global terror network that includes sleeper cells capable of carrying out attacks in Europe and the United States, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.
“The Iranian regime through the Iranian Revolutionary Guard corps is building a complex terror infrastructure including [sleeper] cells that are stockpiling arms, intelligence and operatives and are ready to act on order including in Europe and America,” said Ya’alon during a visit to Cyprus, touted as the first of its kind by an Israeli defense minister.
In support of the charge, Ya’alon referred to the arrest of a Hezbollah operative in Cyprus last year who was in possession of a large amount of material that can be used to make explosives. At the time, Ya’alon cited Cypriot authorities who said that the suspect’s apartment “was being used by Hezbollah’s international terrorism network.”
Ya’alon added that Cypriot authorities had “defeated attempts by Hezbollah and Iran to establish a terror infrastructure” on the island that sought to expand to Europe. Another member of Hezbollah was convicted in Cyprus in 2013 of five terror-related charges. The defense minister further warned that, in addition to refugees who were fleeing the Syrian civil war, there was also “widespread infiltration by murderous, merciless terror organizations” supported by Iran.
Ya’alon’s remarks on Wednesday followed a meeting with his Cypriot counterpart, Christoforos Fokaides. The Israeli defense minister also met with President of the Cyprus House of Representatives Yiannakis Omirou during his visit. A new monument in honor of the friendship between Israel and Cyprus was unveiled at the military camp of Lieutenant General Vasiliou Kapota, where 2,200 children were born to Holocaust survivors, before Ya’alon departed.
— PIO Cyprus (@CyprusPIO) February 25, 2016
The Israeli defense minister’s trip to Cyprus comes as ties between the island nation and Jerusalem continue to strengthen. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades met last month to discuss commercial opportunities presented by the discovery natural gas field in the eastern Mediterranean.
[Photo: Emil Salman/ Haaretz / Flash90 ]